This unusual badge depicts a hybrid character of medieval legend. Melusine was the daughter of a human king and his fairy queen. Melusine was wise and kind, but she was cursed to turn into a serpent from the waist down every Saturday. Eventually, her husband, the Count of Poitou, discovers her secret and denounces her, damning Melusine and denying her the opportunity to become fully human. She turns into a dragon and flies away, occasionally returning to her former castle to foretell the death of the current count. Many European families claimed to be descended from Melusine, including the Plantagenets.
The original artefact is in the collection of the British Museum, although it probably originates from France.
Late 15th century.
37 x 27mm. Lead free pewter with pin & clutch brooch fastening.